Emma Watson is a force of good, trying to thwart evil (or at least inform the ignorant). The Harry Potter star is attempting to make the world a more welcoming and less misogynistic place by releasing a short film about women’s equality, giving a speech about on-campus sexual assault at the United Nations (where she’s a Women Goodwill Ambassador), focusing on her HeForShe campaign, and literally laughing in the face of a sexist Turkish politician. Plus, if you have anything bad to say, she’ll kick your butt.
In other words, she’s a proud feminist, which is not something she would have called herself a few years ago. Watson told Vanity Fair that “I used to be scared of words like ‘feminism,’ ‘patriarchy,’ ‘imperialist.’ But I’m not anymore.” In that same profile — coincidenced with the release of Disney’s live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast later this month — Livia Firth, the founder of Eco-Age, a sustainable-fashion consulting firm, praised Watson for her “incredible sense of integrity. You can’t marry activism and then do something in your life that is not in agreement.” Some people would disagree.
Watson is being criticized for posing without a bra in a Vanity Fair photo shoot, prompting debate about what it means to be a feminist. Radio presenter Julia Hartley-Brewer was the most outspoken critic, tweeting, “Emma Watson: ‘Feminism, feminism… gender wage gap… why oh why am I not taken seriously… feminism… oh, and here are my tits!'”